Ford Ranger Coming To China In 2018
The Ford Ranger will hit the Chinese market a year before the venerable pickup returns to the U.S. market.
Ford announced, that in 2018, it will be bringing the Ranger to China. According to Ford, demand has grown the Chinese pickup market at a rapid pace, becoming the fourth largest in the world. The catch is that pickups only represent 2% of the vehicles in China. Ford is hoping to capitalize on this emerging market as attitudes towards pickups are changing in China.
Recently, the largest obstacle in selling trucks to the mass market in China has been a 2003 law that allowed for local governments to classify pickups as commercial vehicles. This greatly restricted their use in cites. In 2016, that law was changed. The door is now open for automakers to start selling trucks to a new consumer base.
In the past, the pickup truck was not seen as technologically modern or comfortable in China. Ford's market research tells them that the younger Chinese pickup buyer wants a truck that looks and feels more like a luxurious SUV or sedan on the inside. Ford aims to deliver that with the Ranger. In a press release, Ford says "A bold, modern look lends Ranger a powerful presence on the road, and immediately conveys a sense of capability. A stylish interior creates a comfortable, contemporary and car-like environment for the driver and passengers making Ranger suitable for both work and everyday driving."
Along with the Ranger, Ford is also bringing the F-150 Raptor to China. Though, there won't be a wait for the Raptor. They have already started shipping from the U.S. and are now for sale in Chinese dealerships.
Ford ended production of the Ranger in the United States in 2011, with 2012 being the last model year sold in the U.S. as fleet vehicles. Overseas productions continued and sales flourished in markets like South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Earlier this year, Ford officially announced that the Ranger would return to the United States in 2019. They already have a website up for it.
One can only assume Ford's market research for this consisted of reading angry posts on the internet from people wondering why they can't buy a new Ranger in America. The announced return of the beloved Ranger to the U.S. was met with much joy from across the land. No hard details, like specs and pricing, have been released yet. Ford, if you are reading this, please give it three pedals.